OSLO, Norway — A court Friday sentenced Anders Behring Breivik, the Norwegian extremist who admitted killing 77 people, to at least 21 years in prison after ruling that he was sane when he carried out his country's worst peacetime atrocity.
The sentence was the most severe permitted under Norwegian law, but it can be extended at a later date if he is still deemed to be a danger to society. Legal experts say that likely means he will be locked up for life.
Breivik, 33, who had insisted that he was sane when he carried out the attacks last year as part of what he called a campaign against multiculturalism, smiled when the verdict was announced.
His 10-week trial ended in June. Defense lawyers had sought a prison sentence, arguing that Breivik was sane when he bombed buildings in Oslo, killing eight people, and then headed to Utoya Island, where he shot dead 69 people at a summer youth camp run by the Labour Party.
Prosecutors said that he was mentally ill, was not criminally responsible and should be hospitalized instead.
Judge Wenche Elizabeth Arntzen said Friday that the decision reached by the five-member panel hearing the case had been unanimous.
Labour Party supporters in court Friday hugged as the verdict was announced.